Ingrid Palamede never returns to the places she's lived. For her, "whole neighborhoods, whole cities, can be ruined by the reasons you left." But when a breakup leaves her heartbroken and homeless, she's forced to return to her childhood home of Fresno, California. Back in the real wine country, where grapes are grown for mass producers, Ingrid must confront her aging parents and their financial woes, soured friendships, and the blissfully bad decisions she made in her past. But along the way she unearths her love for the land, her talent for harvesting grapes, and a deep fondness for and forgiveness of the very first place she ever left.
With all the sharp-tongued wit of her first novel, Rules for Saying Goodbye, Katherine Taylor examines high-class small-town life among the grapes-on the vine or soaked in vodka-in Valley Fever, a blisteringly funny, ferociously intelligent, and deeply moving novel of self-discovery.
“Valley Fever goes straight to the heart of it: How are we supposed to live? How do we jump through those hoops of fire known as love and work and family, and hopefully emerge with body and soul more or less intact? Or even-dare I say it-come through with some measure of peace in ourselves? Katherine Taylor's unflinching novel takes on the big stuff, and does so with an empathy and insight that reward the closest reading. This superb book succeeds on every level.” —Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
“In Katherine Taylor's stirring and sneakily capacious novel, what begins as a family romance widens out to be nothing less than a portrait of the knotty, complicated relationship between land and the people who make it their life's work to nurture and sometimes exploit it. Heartbreak comes in the form of relentless heat, ravaging dust, and a perfect grape left to wither on the vine, and the undoing of a once proud family vineyard becomes as potent a tale of love and betrayal as any I've recently read. Taylor's prose is sharp, rueful, hilarious, and crackling with life. Her characters' raw, unsentimental affairs with one another and with the earth they till will stay with you long after you've left the book's pages behind.” —Marisa Silver, author of Mary Coin
“Meet Ingrid Palamede, the devastated and devastatingly funny heroine of Katherine Taylor's spectacular Valley Fever. An enthralling examination of how our past mistakes both haunt us and hold the key to our freedom, a sage meditation on how the landscapes we dwell in shape our inner lives, this is a fearless and winning novel. Drink it up.” —Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me
“Taylor (Rules for Saying Goodbye, 2007) evokes the rich textures and rhythms of California's Central Valley in this lush novel of inheritance, family, and betrayal . . . [Vally Fever is] a profound novel about forces that can nurture or break the strongest connections.” —Kirkus Review